Mduduzi Mdantsane's ninth-minute goal proved the difference as Cape Town City recorded a 1-0 victory over 10-man Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday night.
The encounter began at a cautious pace, with both sides looking to maintain possession of the ball in the opening exchanges.
However, the match sprang to life in the ninth minute when the Citizens claimed the lead with their first chance of note, Mdantsane firing a low shot into the bottom corner.
Maritzburg had a great chance to level matters ten minutes later as Malebogo Modise intercepted a wayward pass in a dangerous position, but his subsequent shot on goal flew wide of the mark.
City hit back with a great chance of their own a couple of minutes later, but Maritzburg were let off the hook as Surprise Ralani saw his looping effort from range come back off the crossbar.
The Team of Choice again went close to snatching an equaliser in the 31st minute, but City keeper Peter Leeuwenburgh was alert to the danger as he made an excellent save to deny Keagan Buchanan's curling free-kick. But they were dealt a serious blow in the closing stages of the half as central defender Riyaaz Ismail was penalised for a professional foul on Craig Martin, earning his marching orders in the process.
Despite boasting the numerical advantage, the Citizens took a while to build some momentum in the second half.
They created two chances in quick succession just after the hour mark, but goalkeeper Jethren Barr was up to the task, denying Martin on both occasions.
Prince Opoku would join the fray a few minutes later, replacing Tashreeq Morris as a substitute on his Citizens debut.
Maritzburg redoubled their efforts as the second half drew to a close, forcing the Citizens to pull back and defend as a compact unit.
But they were unable to penetrate a rock-solid defence as the hosts held on to claim a valuable three points on the road.
- TEAMtalk media